Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sisyphus Happy

One must imagine Sisyphus happy” concludes Camus in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe, 1942). That’s the starting point for Tom Kazas in his new 4 track EP sisyphus happy which extends his personal mythology started with the Moffs.

Tom is playing with absurdity, the main theme of Camus essay, in any possible way: the lyrics can be seen as an extension of the Myth, personal yet universal. Tom is a restless artist and global citizen. Camus has written this essay about absurdity in a world threatened by fascism and Tom – happens? – to follow up when the same, disguised, threat throw its shadow over Greece and Europe. It’s not a direct manifest against Nazism but rather an effort to explain today’s absurdity through poetry and the necessary way out, that is revolt according to Camus.
Happiness equals revolution: “I revel in the burden that's rolling up and down the hill

But he doesn’t stop there. Tom is playing with music too throwing the two faces of a coin into a single…EP. He has actually written 2 songs but recorder two versions of each. Not just remixes but reworks.
Revel in the burden and transfusion share the same lyrics.
The first being the “rolling up” and the latter the “down the hill” versions of the same story. The two songs are characterized by the cyclic rhythm and heavy bassline (bass in transfusion reminded me of another Greek and one of the most influential bass players, Mick Carn). The other couple being I should know and depth height is the more pop side of the EP, without being less interesting. Here the impression is of the “outer” (I should know) and “inner” (depth height) self.

In Tom’s words: “Which is the original and which the remodel does not concern Sisyphus. For though it is possible he is in all places at once on that slope, we might rather imagine that these songs place him in the moments between descent and ascent, between then and now.

As a whole the EP left me with the feeling of a spiral ascension, the same feeling I get when listening to the Wrong Way Up album by John Cale and Brian Eno.

A great pleasure.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

From the Lizard’s mouth

Alternative music comes from many different directions. Here’s some new and old Greek bands starting from a different point (country, americana, blues, psychedelic) and meet at some crossroad in the middle of the desert.

Dustbowl formed in 2006 with the intention to further explore and expand their favorite musical styles (country, americana). With an EP and 2 albums up to today they managed to appeal to the (numerous) country lovers in Greece but also to gain for this under-represented (in Greece) genre  a wider audience.

Cold 44 Blues from their 1st LP Troublebound and Lonesome (2007)

His Majesty the King of Spain formed in 2010 by Nektarios Kouvaras.
The band released their first LP Hyena in 2012 with King Elephant (from Baby Guru) in production.
Their sound is influenced by americana, folk and alternative rock (they mention Pixies as great influence).

Mustafa and his Army of Bastard Children from Hyena (2012)

The Rosewood Brothers formed in 2009 and released their first mini-cd, Homemade Music, in 2011 (private release).
Their music is blues. In 2012 they released the single I Got Mine Woman/Pray for a Better Day.

I Got Mine Woman from single (2012)

No Man’s Land have a long history. They formed back in 1985 and after an 8 year hiatus (1993-2001) they continue to experiment and change (more or less) with every new record.
Even though their music explores the psychedelic spectrum, they often cross progressive rock paths or even blues or americana like this one.

Long Summer Nights from Home in the Sky LP (2008)

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Summer Hits"

Cayetano – aka George Bratanis – started his musical journey with Stroggilo Kitrino (The Round Yellow) band back in 1996. As a solo artist under the name Cayetano he appeared in 2004 and since then he has released 5 albums which gained him international recognition.

This is his latest single, a great cover of Commodores' Easy.

Coming from the new EP (2012) of Super Mario and the Exotic Watermelons, this is an afrobeat influenced tune. This EP is the second addition to the funky, soul, jazz universe of Super Mario and the Exotic Watermelons.

Dr. Opin is not a Greek band but the reason it is featured here is Yorgos Pervolarakis, their vocalist, guitarist, composer and lyricist. Dr. Opin describe their music as a cosmopolitan amalgama of worldbeat, Balkan, downbeat, soul-punk.
Here’s a great cover of Tuxedomoon’s In A Manner of Speaking coming from Dr. Opin’s album Time Garden (2010)

Salvador Sango – aka Sotiris Papadopoulos – released a second album in 2012, Cuando Se Caen Las Mascaras (When The Masks Fall), further exploring the afrobeat and latin jazz style.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Kostas Bezos (1905 – 1943) was a rembetico player but also a Hawaiian group bandleader. Pame sti Honolulu (Let’s go to Honolulu) was recorded in the early 30s, while Ta Aspra Poulia sta Vouna (The White Birds in the Mountains) was recorded in 1936 in Athens, Greece.
The two songs are some of the few exotica-sound Greek songs (although before the term was really established in the 50s by Les Baxter and Martin Denny) including animal sounds (the second one) and Hawaiian influences.

Pame sti Honolulu (Let's go to Honolulu) Ta Aspra Poulia sta Vouna (The White Birds in the Mountains)
info from Mademoiselle Montana

Trio Latino issued a 4-track single in 1966 including Cantos de Selva as opening track.
It is their own composition and another example of Greek exotica with hammond, animal and bird sounds.

Cantos de Selva
info Vinylmine

Sperantza Vrana (1928 – 2009) was a singer, actress, writer and performer. Here’s a mambo from 1954 performed in the movie Athens Beauty (I Orea ton Athinon).  Music belongs to George Mouzakis.

Afto to Mambo (This Mambo)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jazz Bouzouki

They call him “phenomenon”. Michalis Paouris has a target: to make bouzouki famous as a leading jazz instrument. He is not the first to play jazz bouzouki but certainly he is impressive. To quote Al Di Meola “His technique is ridiculously fast! So it reminds me of me when I was 25 years younger…”
Born in Athens, he started playing bouzouki at 8 and he has released 2 albums up to now.

The Rosenberg trio & Michael Paouris - Minor Swing (2012)

Al Di Meola - Peo Alfonsi & Michael Paouris in Athens

Silencio from his latest album Disharmony

Check blog, FB, YouTube

Nikos Tatasopoulos was born in USA and is the son of bouzouki soloist John Tatasopoulos. While in US he studied classical piano and jazz guitar. He started playing the bouzouki at the age of 3 and toured extensively with his father. At the age of 19 he returned in Greece and since then he has collaborated with many great Greek artists.

Minor Swing

Manolis Karantinis is a bouzouki virtuoso with 2 personal albums and numerous appearances in works of great Greek composers and singers. His style incorporates elements of rembetico, Spanish music and jazz.

Bouzouki in Spain

George Hristidis is another bouzouki prodigy. In 1982 he released the album From East to West (Ap' Anatoli se Dysi) with Mimis Plessas covering Greek and international standards.

Carnaval (Luiz Bonfa)

Diamantis Hiotis is the son of the famous Manolis Hiotis. He is a multi-instrumentalist and inventor of the bouzouki with 5 strings (his father invented the bouzouki with 4 strings which together with the tuning made the jazz playing possible).

Diamond Tecckilla

Harry Lemonopoulos, born 1923 in Katerini, Greece and died 1975 in US is considered one of the best classic bouzouki players. Although he started as a violonist and guitarist he took bouzouki to another level.

Selection from Gypsy Melodies (Tsitsornia) from the album The Golden Fingers of Harry Lemonopoulos

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sociology Groove

George Kinousis released his album Asteia kai Sovara (Funny and Serious) in 1975. The singer/songwriter had always an interest for social matters and this album includes 2 of his most beautiful songs: the opening track (South Africa) speaking of Apartheid and the closing track (America) speaking of (then and now) contemporary life in US. Interestingly the musical style he chooses is jive for South Africa and r&b for America.

South Africa,1975

Dimitris Poulikakos after a long period of recording his songs and searching for a company, finally releases his album Metafore - Ekdrome “o Mitsos” (Transportation Excursions “Mitsos”) in 1976.
The album is considered to be the first Greek-singing, rock, LP and was a major influence for the coming rock generations.

Skoni, Petres, Laspi (Dust, Rocks, Mud), 1976 

Christos Lettonos has left a small but distinctive footprint throughout his life (died at 45) and career mainly through his collaborations with major composers but also with a couple of unique (in terms of the concept and performance) albums he released as solo artist: Stratiotika (Military) and Grafeiokratia (Bureaucracy - 1976).

Grafeiokratia (Bureaucracy), 1976

Millie Karali appeared in discography in 1973. She has collaborated with some of the finest Greek artists (Hatzidakis, Xarhakos, Xylouris, Lavranos etc) and in 1975 she moves to Paris where she released two albums (Milady Millie, La Chanson Universelle). In 1982 she released Ta Feministika (Feministic) with the music of Nikos Lavranos and the lyrics of Giannis Negrepontis.

Oloi tou kosmou oi tapinoi (All the world's humble people), 1982

Pashalis (singer of Olympians) has released in 1983 a record (H poli afti de mas hora/There's no space for us in this town) that stands out in the discography of the artist as he deals for the first time, to this extend, with social issues such as war, abortion, religion, politics etc. The music belongs to Doros Georgiadis and the lyrics to Sotia Tsotou.

H Poli afti de mas xora (There's no room for us in this town), 1983

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garage Days

Formed in 1981, Villa 21 transformed slowly from a new wave band with influences from Birthday Party, to a neo garage band standing between Rocky Erickson and the Stooges.
They left 4 EPs and 3 LPs before they split with the last 3 (Electric Poison-1987, House of the Damned-1988 and Hellucinations-1990) being some of the best raw rock albums of Greek discography. Their singer Kostas Fever Pothoulakis died in a car accident in 1993.

House of the Damned from their EP with same name - 1988

Formed 1983 in Athens, The Anti Troppau Council were a short-lived band but with a loyal fan club. They left just one LP, A Way Out (1986, produced by Nikos Papazoglou) and several tracks on compilations. They broke in 1987 just before the release of their second album (which was never released). Two of their new songs were included in the Cicadas compilation.

I Believe from the A Way Out LP - 1986

The Mushrooms were formed in Thessaloniki in 1984. They released 2 albums (Taste of-1986 and Scarecrow Princes-1989) both produced by Nikos Papazoglou. They also appeared in Cicadas compilation with 2 songs and finally disbanded 1991 with their guitarist Asclepios Zambetas joining another group of Thessaloniki, Trypes. Their vocalist Pluto died in 2004.

Sleeping in the Lizard's Mouth from Scarecrow Princess LP - 1989

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Brazen Plagiarist

Kiki Dimoula is a Greek poet, member of the Academy of Athens. Born 1931 she published her first book in 1952. She lives in Athens and her poetry is translated in English, French, Swedish, Spanish, German and Italian.
Most recently Yale University Press published The Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems which were backed up with a strong international campaign and press coverage.

Her poetry deals with absence, oblivion and loss seen through a kaleidoscope of linguistic exaggeration. The use of common words in a non-traditional way creates an emotional layer by questioning the very meaning of these words. The element of surprise, in every verse, provides the space for realizing the untold.

Wild guess: Greece’s 3rd poetry Nobel Prize! 

The Plural (from “The Little of the World” poem collection, 1971, here translated in English by Cecille Inglessis Margellos and Rika Lesser for “The Brazen Plagiarist”).


noun, substantive,
extremely substantive,
singular in number;
gender not feminine, not masculine,
gender defenseless.
Plural the number
of defenseless loves.

singular to start with
plural afterward:
Fears of
everything from now on.

noun, proper name for sorrows,
singular in number,
singular only,
and indeclinable.
Memory, memory, memory.

gender feminine,
number singular.
Plural in number
the nights.
The nights from now on.

Here’s the poem performed by Thanos Anestopoulos

The Plural

Here's the poem I Passed by Kyriakos Sfetsas from the album Land of Absences, 2011

I Passed

And finally The Kiss by Stamatis Kraounakis

The Kiss

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Several months ago, right after The Athenian Project post, Anonymous informed me that the drummer on this recording, Dimitris Kakavoulis, was also the drummer of the pop psychedelic VLS first line up presented on previous post.

Sometime later Dimitris Kakavoulis contacted me and sent me his new cd Curves (self-release, 2012).
As a composer and pianist with his Dimitris Kakavoulis Quartet, he presents 7 original compositions of pure jazz, combining melodic improvisation and rich rhythmic alternation. 

Dimitris Kakavoulis Quartet - DeDoDahDum (Curves, 2012)

The quartet:
Dimitris Kollias: tenor sax
Dimitris Kakavoulis: piano
Periclis Trivolis: bass
Leandros Fratnik: drums

Dimitris Kakavoulis Quartet - Siganopapadia (Curves, 2012)

 Besides his solo work Dimitris Kakavoulis is contributing in various other works.
It is worth mentioning his contribution to J. Kriste, Master of Disguise album Girls, Ghosts and Gods (2009, Puzzlemusik).
This is a very interesting folk, psychedelic album, the second one of Cypriot artist Lefteris Moumtzis. Dimitris Kakavoulis contributes drums, keyboard, cymbals and melodic in 4 compositions.

J. Kriste, Master of Disguise - Treesong (Girls, Ghosts and Gods, 2009)

Finally Dimitris is contributing piano in 2 songs from Thanasis Papakonstadinou album Elahistos Eaftos (The Minimum Self) of 2011.

Thanasis Papakonstadinou - Loco Motivo (The Minimum Self, 2011)

You can find more info about Dimitris Kakavoulis and ask for his records here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Memory is still fresh since his last show.
3,5 hours of fun, energy and nice, simple and catchy songs. Maraveyas Ilegal, aka Kostis Maraveyas is a singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist but most of all he is a performer.

His music is influenced by Balkan music, swing, ska, punk, reggae and bossa while his performance borrows from Manu Chao, Tom Waits and Adriano Celentano.
He sings in Greek, English (area for improvement), Spanish and Italian and has released 4 solo albums up to now plus one with X-darawish (his first) in Italy.

Lola from album Lola (2012)

Λόλα ( Lola ) - Maraveyas ilegál - Official Music Video from Aegeanscapes on Vimeo.

To Kalokairi Efyge (The Summer is Gone) from album Lola (2012)

Ase Me Na Bo (Let Me In) from album Welcome to Greece (2009)
Pou Na Vro Mia Na Sou Miazei (Where To Find Someone Like You) from album Ilegal (2007)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...